Tag Archives: Book

Not So Much Progress

Well, I did finish one story but not the meaty story, weekend-writing-goal-fail. I got wrapped up in the first story. It passed with fiancé with relatively little complaint or issue, which is a first. She did have a comment about it not feeling fresh, having done some reflecting I agree – she isn’t a science fiction fan either, color me impressed. I’ve spent some time thinking about how to more explicitly present some elements that I implicitly had woven in. Perhaps I thought I was being clever by being oblique or maybe it was a rookie mistake, I don’t know, I’m still learning. I feel by making the sublte elements more visible I can give the story some mojo, a little more oomph.

Reordering some of the events presented clarity to the evolution of the story. I think in a very short time the story has come a long way, almost unrecognizable from the first draft. I think this short story is stronger, unique, but not different enough to feel weird or terribly unfamiliar.

I’d like to think this story is salable but it ultimately isn’t up to me. Hopefully the untold of hours of slaving in the word mines will start to pay off soon. I still haven’t broken the 1 million word mark but I am pretty close. If you aren’t familiar with the 1 million word rule, it takes that many words to jump the novice fence and into the money making writer club. I don’t know how true that is, I suppose time will tell. I’d like to think every wade through the crap-filled novice river means I am that much closer to catching a keeper and feeding my family, aka student loans – they have hungry mouths.

After reading Writing to Sell by Scott Meredith, I learned some nifty tricks/ideas on how to write a marketable story. One chapter in particular that struck home was the insights into flashbacks. Essentially keep flashbacks short and sweet, or make a chapter. Don’t make this entire weird dialogue in the middle of a moving story where the reader finds themselves magically whisked away, it breaks that magical fantasy land and gets confusing.

Yeah, I’m guilty of that.

I did start editing the meaty story, but I didn’t finish. I ended up cutting the 15k words down to 7k. Cutting flashbacks and streamlining some events really made the difference. I suppose that is the magic of editing. Take 15k words of meh and turning it into 7k words of gold. Still plenty of work left to do, but generally that is where I left things before jumping back into the first story. I need to get that beast slain.

So my new goal is a recycled old goal; finish the second story by this weekend.

What about you penmonkeys, what are your goals?



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Religion In Science Fiction

Something I have run across in my vast undertaking of trying to read and conquer every Science Fiction book ever written, there appears to be a lot of mono-religions for aliens. My question is why? This also occurs in the Fantasy genre.

Perhaps if an author tells us that a world has ten religions, but only explains one, the rest is left for us to color in with our imagination?

Is it because the universe in which the story is written is so large that it is not only unnecessary  but detrimental to explore the vast religions and sects of an alien culture? Or is it the simple and easy answer, too much work.

Occam’s razor points me to the latter, which worries me.

I can understand a hive-mind like alien species having one religion, if any at all. A society where a single or total consciousness controls the thoughts and physical movements for an entire species. That makes sense to me.

What I don’t understand is how a large, intergalactic civilization that expands several planets and moons can only believe in one religion, say a golden potato. This strikes me as very odd. If evolution has tought us anything, genetic drift among the different colonies would occur over time. The alien’s bodies would evolve to adjust to the conditions on the planet or moon.

Say that takes place over a period of a few hundred years, I would almost bet that enough difference between the colonies would result in skewed political and religious views, necessity playing a large part in the equation.

We don’t even have to look very far here on Earth to see that villages a few miles apart have similar but ultimately different religious ideologies. Expand countries and continents and the difference grows.

So why would it be any different for an alien species? Am I over simplifying the unknown by applying human conditions and parameters to something incalculable?

Culture is something that does interest me. I enjoy reading about other societies and the differences in perspectives that can differ so radically from my own. Introduce a creature with different needs and biological functions than a human, we have a recipe for extreme shifts and differences from our own. The potential to explore this in a soft science fiction universe feels like trying to find where the ocean meets the sky, an endless journey.

The amazing part is after religion, we have politics and social class to explore. Perhaps I just haven’t read as widely as I would like to think I have, or is there a kernel of truth to this?

What do you think? Can you point me to any Fantasy and Science Fiction books that explore in greater detail the softer exploits or a civilization?

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The Story Concepts Are Like A Gushing Wound……. Of Ideas…. Not Blood

I literally have a small notebook full of story ideas. I can’t seem to staunch the open flow of creativity. It is getting to the point that I fear if I spent the rest of my natural life writing, I might get half way through. Seriously….

I came up with a new concept for a book series. It wouldn’t be high fantasy, maybe epic visceral, but very slipstream. It essentially takes place in a mountain range that nobody is really sure where they are or how to get to , but folks end up there accidentally all the same. Leaving is even that much harder, for strange things happen that keep life on the mountain volatile. The idea is essentially the birth place of magic that crazy shenanigans and adventures take place (dismantling clichés in the process – think Terry Pratchett) that all cultures seem claim propriety at. In the time frame that I am thinking, lots of time has passed and magic is all but gone. A few flickers exist, but only here in the mountain can a practitioner really thrive. Even then, they have to be damn good at their craft in order to harness the few threads of slippery magic left. The entire society and livelihood of the mountain revolves around a single inn.

That is all the detail you will get for now.

I’m thinking that the books would be small, like 70k-90k pages worth. Quick fun reads for the whole family… except the kids. I have a perverse sense of humor… so maybe not grandma either.

This is a story/idea that I think I will enjoy writing as much as reading. There is probably a moral somewhere in that sentence.

I’ve been going back and forth on posting Violence Breeds Violence, Repression Breeds Retalitation free for my 100th post. I don’t know how well that will go if it becomes published, I might have to take it down. Hmm, I’ll look into it.

Well today is my year anniversary, I have to go and give some love and attention to my other, then to dinner. Have a good day everybody!

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Sex and Violence

So I partake in many forms of media for my sensory exercises. Not necessarily that I’m addicted to being entertained, but I do enjoy a good book/movie/cd/video game. I like to feel the character’s emotions and enjoy their situation, good or bad, or feel the flowing vibe of a good song. Sometimes when I get pissed at a character’s actions or their predicament, I am still having fun. Just on a different level.

Granted there are times when I want to punch a wall because it is annoying and borderline unbearable, but I do enjoy being moved through the motions. One thing that does irk me to no end is when sex and violence is used just for the sake of using them. I like action movies and I’m a fan of nudity just like the next guy, but to just blatantly do it for the sake that you can, it really takes away from the experience for me. I might be crazy and alone on this one. If I wanted to watch senseless violence without any really plot device or purpose, I’d go to an MMA fight. It is what it is and you know that going into it. If I wanted to watch people have sex all day, I’d just watch porn. It is what it is and you know that going into it. I just don’t like when these two things are used to fill a gap or void in something because the story is a thinly veiled piece of shit.

By no means am I a prude or uptight, heh, just poke around my blog and you can figure that out. I am simply a strong believer in ‘There is a time and place for everything’ mantra. I do firmly believe that and sometimes it saddens me because I find things highly critically acclaimed or loved simply because some celebrity gets nude or somebody gets stabbed to death with a carrot. More and more it seems things are touched on for sensory exploitation and everything else is background noise. Just hit the hot buttons and everything falls in place. That annoys me.


How do you feel about it?


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